From the Daily Signal.
Should the government be able to coerce a family farm into hosting a same-sex wedding?
In a free society, the answer is no. Family farms should be free to operate in accordance with the beliefs and values of their owners. Government shouldn’t be able to fine citizens for acting in the market according to their own—rather than the government’s—values, unless there is a compelling government interest being pursued in the least restrictive way possible.
But the New York State Division of Human Rights doesn’t see things this way. On August 8, it fined Cynthia and Robert Gifford $13,000 for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman and thus declining to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration. The Human Rights Commission ruled that “the nature and circumstances of the [Giffords’s] violation of the Human Rights Law also warrants a penalty.”
[…]Here’s the back story. In 2012, Melissa Erwin and Jennie McCarthy contacted the Giffords to rent the family’s barn for their same-sex wedding ceremony and reception. Cynthia Gifford responded that she and her husband would have to decline their request as they felt they could not in good conscience host a same-sex wedding ceremony at their home. The Giffords live on the second and third floor of the barn and, when they host weddings on the first floor, they open part of the second floor as a bridal suite.
[…][The Giffords] do not object to gay or lesbian customers attending the fall festivals, or going berry picking, or doing any of the other activities that the farm facilitates. The Giffords’ only objection is to being forced to abide by the government’s views on sexuality and host a same-sex wedding. The Human Rights Commission has now declared this historic belief about marriage to be “discrimination.”
The Giffords must pay a $1,500 mental anguish fine to each of the women and pay $10,000 in civil damages penalty to New York State. If they can’t pay in 60 days, a nine percent interest rate will be added to that total. Like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Giffords must also institute anti-discriminationre-education classes and procedures for their staff.
How would gay marriage affect your marriage? Well, you would have to go to court, be found guilty, be re-educated, pay the gay people you offended, and then pay the government for punishing you. And remember, you’re already paying for the government to prosecute you for your views on marriage every time you pay taxes. We pay the salaries of our own executioners. How did it come to this?
Well, may I suggest that Christian pastors who drive a wedge of separation between the Christian faith and public knowledge are to blame. What I find in church is that pastors preach the same shallow gospel sermon every week, week in and week out. Everything is assumed to be true without examination, no alternatives or critical viewpoints are presented and defeated, and nothing in the sermon is ever connected to evidence in the real world. There is no emphasis on defining the Christian worldview, or on criticizing other worldviews like postmodernism, naturalism, pluralism or relativism. It’s all mystical privatized fundamentalist anti-intellectual emotional piety.
The net result of this is that when Christians go out into the world, they are not equipped to discern the dangers posed by non-Christian ideologies, and they often vote for the very policies that later come back to destroy them – because secular leftists make their policies sound so nice. Who could be against “affordable health care” – until you realize that you’re going to be paying for someone else’s abortion drugs. Maybe pastors need to do a better job of connecting the Bible to real world knowledge and policies so that we don’t just retreat from the field and let secular leftists rule over us.